Text and Photos by Kimberly Cecchini
Within an hour of being in country, our twenty-four year old Tico guide had driven my husband and I beyond the city limits and we were speeding down a desolate highway with only the headlights to illuminate the mountains in the heavy rain of the “green” season. The soundtrack was The Clash’s London Calling album and stories about Mateo’s life in Costa Rica. My northeastern liberal self squirmed a bit in the passenger seat at the sight of the gun that laid in the console between myself and our new friend. Mateo* claimed to have had self-defense training with his gun and, as we observed later, it was perhaps a more necessary accessory in San José than it is in most parts of New York. In addition, he was implementing his speed driving course to condense the hour drive to the Pacific coast; without hesitation, he weaved over the double yellow line to pass slower vehicles. Soon enough we were driving through the nightlife strip of the surfer tourist trap, Jacó, passing a sleepier beach area and turning onto the
crumbly road that led to our mini-resort. Mateo jumped out of the vehicle to open a large wooden gate which he closed behind us before rolling down the driveway. The canopy of trees obscured the moonlight and so all we could see of our eery path was leaves in the glare of headlamps and the halos of compact fluorescent lights in plastic lanterns.
We retired to our cottage on the property that was shared only with our tour guide, a guard and three dogs including a chained Rottweiler that had once bitten a chunk out of a foolish guest’s leg. And whatever might have lied in wait for us in the seemingly deep rainforest.
If nothing else, we knew we would have an experience. Pura Vida!
*Not his real name